At ENC Strategy, we consider ourselves experts in outreach to small businesses. And it’s not just because we are one. If you need to market to small businesses, make sure you really understand that audience before diving in.
For six years, we’ve helped the U.S. Small Business Administration develop outreach campaigns specifically designed to reach small business owners. We don’t just do that shooting from the hip, either. To help understand the small business audience, we’ve conducted extensive research to understand what small business owners need to run their businesses. ENC facilitates small business community discussions and web chats on SBA.gov, and we develop outreach campaigns that reach small business owners where they already are.
All this experience means we’ve learned some valuable lessons about how to engage small businesses:
- Know your audience — don’t ignore research. Make sure you learn how your audience thinks and what matters most to them. Ensure your branding and messaging resonates with small businesses so you’re not overlooked as just another person wanting to sell something.
- Define your value — connect the services and capabilities you provide to the support and benefits small businesses need most. Contribute to customer satisfaction by eliminating any misconceptions about your organization and programs.
- Improve engagement — Know how, and where, to speak to your audience. Understand the tactics that grow and nurture your customer base. Analyze metrics to learn about their community and the effectiveness of your efforts. Ensure your content is useful and meaningful.
By paying attention to these key points, we’ve helped the SBA’s engagement of small businesses online increase by 336 percent, email opens by 25 percent, Twitter retweets by 67 percent and page views by 15 percent in the last year.
The next time you need a strategy for selling your products or services to small businesses, make sure your message and marketing plan is customized to ring true.
Image courtesy of Dell’s Official Flickr Page through Creative Commons.